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Film / Invasion of the Neptune Men

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A 1961 sci-fi flick (Uchū Kaisokusen, or "The High-speed Spaceship", in the original Japanese) famous for its appearance by a young Sonny Chiba. What little plot there is concerns a gang of nameless Japanese children wandering around town and running into an invasion by the titular torpedo-headed Neptune men, some sort of "electro-barrier", and Space Chief (Iron-Sharp in the original), a superhero and "ineffectual chicken-headed bachelor" dedicated to fighting the Neptunian menace. Aside from that, it's pretty much Prince of Space with added World War II-esque Stock Footage (featuring a delightful cameo by Adolf Hitler) but without the charm of the Chicken Men of Krankor.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode see here.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Space Chief is supposed to be one of these.
  • Alien Invasion: A particularly slow, lumbering invasion carried out by about seven or so aliens equipped with endlessly looped weaponized stock footage. It's one of the least exciting struggles for mankind's future ever filmed.
  • Anti-Climax: After an entire movie of Space Chief fighting with his high-tech gadgets and flying car, the aliens are defeated by good ol' fashioned surface-to-air missiles.
  • Apocalypse How: The aliens attempt a Class 3, Class 4 at most, by freezing the Earth. When that gets thwarted, they resort to simply carpet bombing entire cities.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Whoever did the English dubbing was too lazy to try to get the dialog to sound like things actual English speakers would really say.
  • The Cameo: Robby the Robot in toy form.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: "DO NOT PANIC. DO NOT PANIC."note 
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Space Chief is such a ridicolous space hero he would make the Prince of Space look like Adam Strange.
  • Cool Car: We're clearly supposed to think Space Chief's flying rocket car is super wicked sick, but even if it weren't made of cardboard and styrofoam you probably wouldn't want to have it.
  • Deflector Shields: The "electro-barrier" which covers the city. For bonus points, it can also exude heat.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: The Neptune Men when disguised as humans feature men wearing heavy pancake makeup, lipstick and mascara.
  • Dull Surprise: Almost all of the "reaction lines" in the American dub sound like this. At one point a character says "We're in dire peril!" with all the urgency of a normal person saying "My ear itches."
  • Free-Range Children: The kids' parents are not only never seen, they're never even mentioned. They're so free-range, in fact, they don't even have names except the inevitable Ken. Well, one of them is supposed to be the son of the facility's chief scientist, but the rest are pretty much orphans as we know them.
  • Gratuitous Nazis: The infamous "Hitler Building," a stock footage building featuring a gigantic mural of Adolf Hitler. It appears for a split second before getting blown up, and is never mentioned again.
  • Hong Kong Dub: The above-mentioned "Blind Idiot" Translation means that not only are lines completely alien to normal English conversation, there's also the problem of matching up that dialog with the Japanese actors' lip movements. The result is something like William Shatner and Burgess Meredith doing a cold recitation of a particularly pause-heavy Harold Pinter play after a few strong drinks.
  • Landmark of Lore: Tokyo Tower, the Japanese Diet building and, of course, The Hitler Building.
  • The Load: Zig-zagged. While the omnipresent Japanese children have to be saved by Space Chief twice because of their irresponsible dilly dallying, they aren't completely useless. They are the ones to discover and report the aliens, find the piece of the spaceship that is blown off, and deliver the device that the aliens use to communicate with the humans. They even notice the disguised soldier aliens before anyone else. In fact, they're actually more useful than Space Chief is.
  • Nonindicative Name
    • Space Chief is never seen going into space. He's more like Lower Atmosphere Chief, really. Or Barely-Off-The-Stupid-Ground-Chief. Of course, those idiot kids gave him the name, so it's hardly his fault.
    • In the original Japanese release he was known as "Ironsharp," apparently. This isn't really any better than Space Chief, since neither his ship nor his superhero costume imply sharpness, with the possible exception of his table saw helmet.
  • Sensory Abuse: The Neptunian fighter ships constantly make a high-pitched whistling noise which is really pleasant to listen to.
  • Space Clothes: Space Chief wears them.
  • Stock Footage: Shots of the Tokyo Tower and the Diet Building getting bombed are lifted from a 1960 Japanese Cold War film World War III Breaks Out, in what is supposed to be a kid's movie. Even weirder: World War III Breaks Out was recut and dubbed into English as The Final War several years later. The English-language version included additional effects footage from...Invasion of the Neptune Men.
    • Averted with the "Hitler Building," which appears to be a billboard advertising Erwin Leiser's documentary Mein Kampf, which was released in Japan while Neptune Men was filming. It's still unclear why the filmmakers included this shot, unless they thought it was a striking image (true enough, though not in the way they likely intended).
  • Stuff Blowing Up: You'd think a hostile spaceship reducing Tokyo to rubble would be exciting, right? Nope. Not a chance. In fact, this is probably the only movie in existence where the big, epic, action-packed climax is even more boring and tedious than the stuff preceding it.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Space Chief apparently never bothered to come up with a superhero name, so when the kids just randomly call him that, he rolls with it.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: None of the guards seem to notice the poorly disguised aliens until they get shot by them.
  • This Is No Time to Panic: After the country declares martial law, the police blares over the megaphone to the populace for them not to panic while they're all panicking.
  • Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: Downplayed; there's an offhand reference to a nuclear reactor exploding in California, but the aliens are never shown to bother attacking anywhere else even though the only notable defense they face is a stationary shield.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Due to bad dubbing a lot of the characters have voices that sound nothing like how you'd think they would sound.
  • We Have Reserves: Done in the most boring way possible.


Video Example(s):


The Hitler Building

One of the battle scenes in Invasion of the Neptune Men inexplicably contains a building with a large mural of Adolf Hitler that gets blown up. Mike and the bots are understandably very surprised.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / GratuitousNazis

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